Running a franchise can cause a lot of stress. There’s only so much time in the day, and when people are counting on you to get things done, the pressure can take a toll. Understanding how to manage stress in the workplace will help you, and your employees, too.
17.9 million working days have been lost as a result of work-related stress, depression or anxiety [Health and Safety Executive]. To run your business as well as you can, stress management should be an essential feature of your business plan, and will likely help you to run a more efficient business in the long term.
Being a franchisee comes with reward and responsibility. In this article, you’ll discover stress management best practices and tips which will help you to take care of your own mental health, and allow you to support your employees’ mental health as well.
The importance of developing effective stress management techniques
The term “stress management” is fairly straightforward. It’s a process by which an individual learns new skills - skills which enhance their ability to cope in stressful situations. Here are a few examples:
- A person develops their problem-solving skills, and therefore finds a solution they wouldn’t have thought of before
- A person improves their time management skills, and feels less rushed off their feet as a result
- A person learns to communicate more effectively, and stress is reduced as conflicts can be avoided more easily
Understanding the importance of effective stress management techniques is all about visualising the flipside of this coin. What happens when people can’t find the right answer, can’t get things done, and can’t communicate their meaning? Does the result negatively impact business? Yes. Unchecked stress at work can:
1. Make everyone feel overworked and overwhelmed
It’s a commonly known fact that stress snowballs. If you don’t handle feelings of overwhelmedness when they arrive, they’re bound to keep coming back. Listen to signs that you’re spreading yourself too thinly, and make the changes you need before things continue to get worse.
If you’re so stressed out by the day-to-day running of your own business that you can barely keep up, you definitely won’t have time to invest in the additional manpower you probably need to make things less intense for yourself and your team.
2. Prevent growth and advancement within the franchise
As above, if you’re barely keeping it together, expansion will likely be the furthest thing from your mind. Companies that run smoothly and provide a high quality of life to employees naturally grow over time, whereas companies that exist in a constant state of stress are not likely to last very long.
When you fail to invest enough time and energy into effective stress management techniques, things pile up easily, and making any real progress becomes impossible.
3. Have a negative monetary impact
One of the biggest culprits of stress is money, whether work related or not. Franchise owners must consider funding, payroll, cashflow, invoicing and more. Even when things seem to be heading in a positive financial direction, it can be hard not to worry about money.
Trouble is, the more a franchisee worries about money, the less well equipped they become to handle it well. If the stress becomes so intense that business owners bury their heads in the sand, neglect of the finances can begin to occur, and potentially cause larger issues, and more stress, down the line.
If you’re worried about debt or other money-related issues, we’ve put together a guide on how to overcome the challenge of an in-debt franchise. You’ll find lots of helpful advice and instructions on what to do.
If you don’t talk or think about your money, your future will suffer. Learning to make smart decisions now enables lifelong habits so that you control your finances, not the other way around.
—Alan Akina, 101 Financial CEO
>> Read more:
- 15 Tips for Staying Positive and Being Supportive During the COVID-19 Crisis
- 20 Questions: How Can I Maintain My Well-Being During the COVID-19 Crisis?
- How to Protect Your Mental Health During Tough Times
- Is Mental Health Support Part of Your Franchise Package? (It Should Be)
- 10 Clever Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as a Franchisee
Stress management techniques
Everyone struggles with stress and mental health trouble sometimes, but what makes the big difference is how these struggles are handled. Can you deal with one stress-causing situation before it grows into three or four? Can you support your employees when they need it? Can you recover from periods of burnout without negatively impacting your business?
Hopefully, with the help of this comprehensive guide, your answer to all of the above will be yes. Here are eight stress management techniques that every franchisee should master:
1. Start your day on the right note
Do what you need to do to enter the working day with a smile on your face, and some pep in your step. This might be setting some extra time aside in the morning for a long shower, or it could be prepping your coffee mug the night before. It could even be as simple as listening to some of your favorite music during the commute.
2. Stay organised
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s only natural to become stressed. To avoid this, keep yourself organised. Write a list at the beginning of each working day, and make this list a clear and realistic tool for your benefit, filled with manageable, actionable goals.
>> Read more:
- 5 Tips for Developing Your Employees into Future Franchisees
- Being a Successful Franchisee Means Adopting an Entrepreneur Mindset
- 7 Common Habits of Successful Franchisees
- Mythbusters: Common Misconceptions About What Makes a Successful Franchisee
- Five Tips for Boosting Your Self-Confidence as a Business Owner
- Traits of an entrepreneur
3. Learn from your successes
When you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to remind yourself of the things you’ve done right in the past. But it’s not just mistakes that you can learn from. When everything seems to be going wrong, step away and take some time to think about what’s worked successfully before. How could you implement what you learned in that past situation in order to improve your current situation?
4. Set clear and healthy boundaries
When you’re running your own business, and your employees defer to you for advice, support and permission, boundaries are a necessity, and setting them is the right move for your stress levels. Practice, for example, not replying to emails over the weekend. Or, if you have an open-door policy, try an afternoon a week where it doesn’t apply, and see how things go.
5. Move on from the things that are out of your control
Worrying and obsessing over each and every element of your franchise is natural when it’s your passion, but it will also have a negative impact on you if you allow it to go unchecked. How often do you find yourself worrying about things that you have no control over? Don’t you think it would be better to put that energy into something you CAN control?
6. Master the art of delegation
As a business owner, when something happens, you’ll naturally want to get involved. But the truth is, not every workplace scenario needs your input. Is there someone else who can manage the situation? Why not tag them in, and get on with something else that needs doing? Effective delegation will help you cut your stress levels massively and allow you to focus on the aspects of your business only you can work on.
7. Talk it out
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to people. Talk with colleagues, or with loved ones, or even with professionals. Don’t bottle up your feelings inside when you could be receiving helpful advice and support. If you can’t acknowledge your stress out loud, moving past it will be difficult.
8. Prioritise mental and physical health
Exercise regularly to improve your mood and boost your energy levels. Try to get a good night’s sleep, especially on work days. Consume a health, balanced diet which gives you all the nutrition you need. Make sure to enjoy time for yourself when you’re out of the office. Try putting some time aside for a hobby that you really enjoy, like sailing, or knitting, or reading.
Reducing employee stress levels
As a franchisee, it’s also your responsibility to look out for your employees’ wellbeing. Improve the working experience of your employees by:
- Setting realistic deadlines and goals
- Not regularly pushing employees to rush or work overtime
- Investing time in one-on-one conversations
- Ensuring your employees know you’re open to discussion
- Encouraging breaks
- Making the working environment comfortable for employees
Mental health matters
Chronic stress has been proven to negatively impact the brain and body [Future Science Group]. It’s also a limiting factor in terms of the success of your franchise, as providing an inviting and enjoyable working environment is crucial for expansion and growth. Learning to successfully manage stresses will make you a better franchisee.
For additional mental health support, check out our 10 clever ways to protect your mental health as a franchisee. For more business support, browse Point Franchise’s wider range of articles, covering all things franchising.
Cara Squires, Point Franchise ©